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Jerry Freese

Prochannel Compressor & EQ.

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I know this has been covered a lot in the "legacy" forum, I searched here for some recent opinion and couldn't find any (searching "prochannel compressor & EQ) So I am again wondering why Prochannel defaults placing the compressor after the EQ? I had always been taught compressor should go first but it might make sense to cut frequencies you don't want before they can affect the compression. Right now I am speaking of Vocal tracks and using either the CA-2A or PC76 compressors. Where should/do you recommend EQ placement and why?

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Usually the eq follows the comp, tho there are times you want to thin out the sonic herd before it triggers the comp.  but there are no rules, only what works to your own taste.  If you are worried, try both eq before and after.

however, the remainder  of the rules are there because they work most of the time.

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This is the default chain because EQ -> Comp is more frequently used than the other way around.

Of course, that's neither a hard rule nor an implied recommendation. Any and all default values are chosen by the developer based on his best guess as to what the user is most likely to want to do, most of the time.

Why EQ before compression? Simple: EQ affects how the compressor works, while the reverse is rarely the case.

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On 11/21/2019 at 8:53 AM, Jerry Freese said:

I had always been taught compressor should go first

There are no right or wrong order for and EQ, compressor and any other effect you use. The right order is the order that gives you your desired sound.

Maybe you want the boosted frequencies form an EQ to be compressed, sop you would place the EQ before the compressor. OR maybe you do not want the boosted frequencies compressed, so you would place the EQ after the compressor. Maybe you want the lower frequencies compressed and the higher boosted frequencies not compressed, so you would have an EQ before and after the compressor. 

There are no rules to effect order. You, your ears and your personnel preferences decide the order, not some Joe Blow that says "you have to do this and that." That is BS in my book....

CJ

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On 11/24/2019 at 4:51 AM, CJ Jacobson said:

There are no right or wrong order for and EQ, compressor and any other effect you use. The right order is the order that gives you your desired sound.

Maybe you want the boosted frequencies form an EQ to be compressed, sop you would place the EQ before the compressor. OR maybe you do not want the boosted frequencies compressed, so you would place the EQ after the compressor. Maybe you want the lower frequencies compressed and the higher boosted frequencies not compressed, so you would have an EQ before and after the compressor. 

There are no rules to effect order. You, your ears and your personnel preferences decide the order, not some Joe Blow that says "you have to do this and that." That is BS in my book....

CJ

I agree with this reply in the fact that there really are no rules to how we use our plugin's, but some thoughts and guidelines do help.

I will almost always EQ BEFORE compression and here's why:

1 - the compressor is triggered by waveform dB, not frequency. Keeping this idea in mind is very useful when trying to get the sound you're looking for from a compressor. Example: if your track has not been "cleaned up" by using subtractive EQ, then your compressor may be triggered by frequencies in the track which you don't actually plan on using later on in your FX chain (meaning, if you compress first and then EQ you have shaped the sound of your track using frequencies you are going to cut out immediately after the compressor). So, you're compressor is compressing unwanted frequencies. You can avoid this if you EQ first.

2 - if you EQ AFTER the compressor you will often find flying around "untamed", which becomes especially noticeable at louder volumes. If you have done any additive EQ'ing you would want to have a compressor AFTER this EQ giving a slight bit of compression to keep these frequencies from partying too hard at higher volumes. This idea is super helpful as well when dialing in your FX (such as reverb). So many times in my mixes things sound so good until the song gets a bit loud, then all of a sudden it lacks clarity, distinction, separation... I eventually realised it was because of the reverb. Sounded great at lower volumes, but once it got louder the reverb got out of control and muddied the mix. Place a slight bit of compression after the reverb and it tames it down and keeps it in check no matter what happens to the volume.

3 - when I start working on a new song/project the first thing I do (after a super rough mix to get volumes right and see what I can and cannot hear/where the muddiness of the song/project lays) is subtractive EQ'ing. Gotta get rid of all those unwanted frequencies in the tracks before doing anything else to them. Perhaps its just me and my workflow, but it doesn't make too much sense to me to get into all sorts of editing and FX chains before I've even taken the time to get rid of the frequencies I don't want/need.

I hope some of this has been helpful to you all.

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Mine is defaulting the other way.

To answer your question, If the vocals are aggressive and almost clip in places I would use light compression, but only after I've determined the gain staging couldn't be better set. If the vocals were not aggressive and well under 0db, I might not use anything if they already sit well in the mix. If they need some space in the mix I would mostly use subtractive EQ unless their voice needed a slight boost in the mids. Most vocalists sing in the mid or high mid ranges. To remove things like mic bumps and rumbles I high pass probably below at least 60bd and maybe even below 100 db. I always do this first with all compression off. Nothing saying you can't add multiple EQ if necessary.

You could , for instance, High pass before any more efx. Add a compressor after that EQ  set to tame a few peaks. This is because a typical EQ doesn't see when the issue is occurring. It just cuts and boosts frequencies. A compressor will only work when it sees a peak. You could then add yet another EQ to better balance the compressed vocal.

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